In this novel, David Malouf re-enters the world of the Iliad, to recount the story of Achilles, Patroclus and Hector and provides a very different telling of Priam's journey to the Greek camp. And what a wonderful storytelling it is!
`Dreams are subtle, shifting, they are meant to be read, not taken literally.'
At the end of the novel, Mr Malouf writes that the primary focus of the story is on storytelling itself: why stories are told and why we need to hear them; how stories get changed in the telling; and how much of what it has to tell are `untold tales' found only in the margins of earlier writers. It is possible to read the novel simply enjoying the story without wondering about these broader issues, but they add their own dimension to the writing. It is possible, too, to enjoy this novel without any detailed knowledge of the Iliad. In my case, at least, it stirs a revisiting of the world of the Iliad and probably of the Odyssey, to enjoy those legends anew.
`This old fellow, like most story tellers, is a stealer of other men's tales, of other men's lives.'